Throwback Thursday: Sundowns to construction - the days of Papi Mbele

Throwback Thursday: Sundowns to construction - the days of Papi Mbele

Papi Mbele took the unconventional step to leave football at the age of 28, after having played for Mamelodi Sundowns and Bafana Bafana. On this Throwback Thursday, we look back at the talented player.

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For most people, it would almost be unthinkable for a professional footballer to leave the sport and opt for a construction job.

However, Papi Mbele took the bold decision at the age of 28 - during the prime years of any footballer's career.

Mbele made a name for himself at Vaal Professionals, but soon caught the attention of Mamelodi Sundowns.

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Many expected big things from the talented youngster after Sundowns acquired his services.

Mbele's form earned him a Bafana Bafana call-up and it seemed he had the world at his feet. learnt that Mbele later regretted departing from the Brazilians in haste, after uncertainty regarding his contract.

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Mbele's career soon nose-dived and he found himself playing in the Mvela league for Nathi Lions.

It was then when he decided to hang up his boots.

Mbele cited pressure from fans and the mental adjustment of dropping to a lower standard of football as key reasons for his decision.

These days, Mbele works in the construction industry as a Safety Rep and enjoys life after football.

Mbele once spoke to about his decision to retire and that he is at peace with the move.

He said, "To be honest, life is good after football because I have equipped myself mentally to face the reality of life before I left football, meaning I was looking forward to the challenges ahead."

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